Response to Hall Closure

St Anselm Hall Association

Current Situation

Since the second EGM on Monday 21st September the Association Committee has been working closely to support the JCR in exile and ensure that they have our support in maintaining their community both physically (as COVID-19 restrictions allow) and virtually via a series of events.

A Reopening Working Party (RWP) has been established and includes representation from a number of Alumni Association Committee members including former JCR President Paul Lee. Alongside the Hall Advisory Group the Association is working with the Senior Management of the University with responsibility for the residences to ensure that there is a plan to reopen the hall. This will include ensuring that the processes needed to sustain the JCR (e.g. run elections for 2021/22) and protect the fabric of the hall – in which the Association has a tangible legacy of investment and benefaction.

We are delighted that to report that since the start of term, through the efforts of the JCR who have been supported by the Chaplain (Rev Hugh Bearn) and the Association committee, the hall community in exile has maintained regular activities. Central to this passionate spirit has been the hall chapel and notably the Remembrance service was brought forward and ran as a hybrid online and physical event on Tuesday 3rd November. As we enter the second period of national lockdown our thoughts are with all current students and University staff.

The Association Committee are meeting frequently to sustain the above effort. We will do our best to keep our members informed and seek further support as it is needed. We thank all of you who wrote to the President and Vice Chancellor, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Alumni and others. Our voice and dismay has been heard and we ask that no further messages are sent at this stage.

All members for whom we have contact details will have received a flurry of emails in September around this matter, If you did not receive them please contact the Secretary.

Background

On 30th August the St Anselm Hall Alumni Association learned the very sad news that the University of Manchester has taken the decision to close St Anselm Hall for the 2020-21 academic year. 

We were aware that this was a possibility because of the reduced demand for student accommodation due to the ongoing coronavirus situation. However, because of the Government’s mishandling of A level results a few weeks ago, the University of Manchester – like many other top universities – found itself with a lot more students who met the conditions of their offer.  

On 24th August an email was sent to residents explaining that the dining room in Slems would be open, but students would not be able to have formal dinners. Work was underway to maintain other vital aspects of hall life including the Library, Chapel and Bar with a view to all being open in September.

International residents that are arriving early to quarantine in halls before the start of term were due to begin moving in the week commencing 7th September. It therefore came as a complete surprise to the pastoral staff of the hall when returning members of hall began reporting that they had been moved out of Slems.

Communication to the students and staff of the hall was either blunt or for the latter initially completely absent. Returning students recieved this message:

Email to Returning Students

Dear XXXXXXXX 

University ID Number: XXXXXXXX 

We recently sent you an offer of accommodation for St. Anselm Hall for the academic year 2020/2021 which you subsequently accepted.   

Unfortunately, it has become necessary for operational reasons, to change your allocation to another room. To view the details of your new room, please log into your e-Accommodation Account. 

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause and we look forward to welcoming you to Manchester. 

Regards 

Paul Burns | Accommodation Office Manager | Directorate for the Student Experience l The Accommodation Office | The University of Manchester | Grove House | 316 Oxford Road | Manchester M13 9WJ | Tel. +44 (0) 161 275 2888 | http://www.accommodation.manchester.ac.uk/ 

Association Response: Our call to action and how you can help

The Association held an Emergency General Meeting of the Membership on Monday 7th September at 7.30pm.

A second EGM was held on Monday 21st September

At this stage no further EGM meetings are planned.

The survival of the Hall depends on you.

We are now asking you to support this cause in a different way

1. Please support the JCR by signing the JCR petition

2. Please share this request with Old Anselmians and others in your network and ask them to renew their membership – the modest funding each member provides annually may be vital to supporting the JCR in future.

Our Aims

1) We are seeking a reversal of the decision to close the hall and are campaigning to establish a guarantee that the hall will reopen for the 2021-22 academic year if not before.

2) We support the JCR in their call to be allocated traditional hall accommodation that allows them to maintain a social community in exile by being housed together.

3) We recognise that the people and the building fabric are both vital – the JCR should have access to the hall and it’s communal facilities to allow all returning Anselmians and those freshers who were to be part of the JCR for 2020-21 to maintain an outstanding student-led experience.

Please note that the Association are concerned that language from the University (such as ‘it is our intention’) and the use of conditional statements do not represent a cast iron commitment to reopen the hall.

We are concerned that recent behaviours from the University do not recognise the great value of the hall to the overall student experience nor the mistakes made in the decisions leading to hall closure and associated communications with the JCR.

You can support the JCR and the Future of Slems by:

Renewing your membership

You can do this online – the JCR finances may be a pain point in the year ahead. If you would like to update your contact details, please email the Clerk including your full name and years in hall.

Joining our former JCR Presidents Campaign

If you are a former JCR President please contact the Secretary as you can help play a key role in our campaign.

Supporting the JCR via Social Media

More information

If you would like any further information or clarification regarding the Associations campaign to save Slems please contact us including your full name and years in hall and we will suitably connect you to the current committee members

We enjoy hearing from Old Anselmians, and we look forward to seeing you at one of the reunions in the near future.

Social Network

LinkedIn Group

Facebook Group

Twitter

Contact

The Clerk to the St. Anselm Hall Association,
St. Anselm Hall,
Kent Road East, Victoria Park,
Manchester, M14 5BX.

Email: clerk@slems.org.uk

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